Virtual Cafe Scientifique, University of Southampton

Virtual Cafe Scientifique

About the Grid

Archived site - this website is out of date and kept online for reference only.

An updated ECS Virtual Café Scientifique is currently under development, as part of the EPSRC POLMAT project.

Currently in the UK the total generating capacity is 75GW (75,000,000,000watts). 

National Grid respond to changes in our demand for electricity by increasing or decreasing output from the power stations on a minute by minute basis – there’s no way to generate excess capacity and store it at the moment though the concept of huge batteries storing electricity generated and not used is tempting. 

Typically our lowest demand level is about 40GW, (overnight in the summer) and the highest is about 65 GW (on the coldest day in the winter). 


Variations within the day can be quite notable, particularly if there is a very popular programme on the television. 

Controlling the amount of electricity generated to match demand takes a great deal of technology – it’s a 24/7 job!


* Image courtesy of National Grid